Hidden beneath all the chaos of the first three weeks of the Trump administration — the questionably legal Executive Orders, the inept wording and rollout of the Muslim ban, the tweet ravings against actors and department stores, the insults against our intelligence community and our allies, the provocation of China, the assault on our environment, and the laughable outright lies uttered by spokespeople — there continues the quietly rowing scandal of the Trump team’s close ties with Russia.
We can presently recognize several reasons why Putin wanted Trump as US President, but since the Director of the CIA has been replaced with a Trump loyalist, the investigation has probably officially been stopped and silenced. However, many in the intelligence community do not trust the Trump administration because of their many ties to Russia, and these agencies are providing the United States media information via internal leaks which may help us save democracy.
17 different intelligence agencies have confirmed that Russia manipulated our election to place Trump in the White House. But why?
Our first rule always applies: Follow The Money.
But let’s dig deeper…initially, there appear to be three reasons: Territory, Oil Money & Sanctions, and Influence over & Disruption of the United States.
So for now, lets start by taking a brief look at the backstory of the USSR and it’s empire.
The Soviet Union was a huge, powerful empire, and its 1991 collapse cost Russia a LOT of wealth and territory. Take a look at this map. (Click on it to enlarge).
The fall of the Soviet Union resulted in a breakup of territories into separate independent countries in both Central Asia and Eastern Europe (shown in greens in the map). The countries of Eastern Europe shown in yellow were freed from Soviet military domination. In Central Asia 8 new (or newly independent) countries emerged: Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. In Eastern Europe the 6 new (or restored) countries are Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine and Moldova. The Eastern European countries freed from Soviet domination but not actually part of the Soviet Union. are Poland, East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Albania and Yugoslavia.
Then, to add insult to injury, the first Bush Administration promised Gorbachev that in return for German unification there would be “not an inch” of NATO expansion. But, clearly NATO did expand. Why? Because conservatives and neocons bated Bill Clinton into “nation building”. In fact, NATO went on to draft nearly the entire former “Warsaw Pact”, expanding its membership by 12 nations. So doing, it encroached thousands of kilometers from its old Cold War boundaries to the very doorstep of Russia.
This move was both humiliating and understandably threatening to Russia.
Eventually, a pro-Russian “president” was installed (for which Paul Manafort was paid over 17 million dollars) in the Ukraine — but that move backfired, as the people eventually tossed the president out and submitted an application to join NATO to protect it from Russia. It was at this point that Russia invaded the Ukraine.
After its invasion of the Ukraine and seizure of Crimea, Russia has demonstrated its military muscle – and been sanctioned for it. With a united EU, working together with the US, and NATO strong, there would be a push-back should Russia decide to move on to retaking more territory that was once part of their empire. A united Europe, and especially a united Europe together with the United States in the form of NATO, is simply not in the best interest of Russia.
“If the World Blinks Putin Will Seize the Rest of Ukraine.” – The Hill
So, how to best distract and weaken the EU? Take a look at some articles from the past few years:
ST. PETERSBURG, Russia – Nationalist supporters of Russian President Vladimir Putin brought together controversial far-right politicians from across Europe on Sunday in an effort to demonstrate international support for Russia and weaken European Union commitment to sanctions imposed on Russia over its role in Ukraine.
- Far-right candidates in EU tied to Putin 2014
- Far-right candidates in EU admire Putin May 2014
- Putin Feeds EU Rabid Right 2014
Putin has been backing far-right candidates across Europe, and David Cameron asserted that he also backed the far-right proposal of Britain leaving the EU, Brexit – successfully dividing Britain from the rest of the EU. Therefore by supporting far-right fascist politicians, Russia was able to drive wedges between countries and races within the EU, weakening the union, its influence in the global stage, and potentially undermining NATO.
So yes, Russia hoping to reclaim territories that were, up until very recently, part of the Soviet Union is a very good reason to divide and weaken the EU and NATO.
$$$ Oil – Follow The Money
There’s a $500 BILLION dollar motivation for Putin to place Trump in the White House: The world’s largest petroleum deal between the two largest oil companies in the world: Exxon and the Russian state oil company, Rosneft. This deal was brokered between then Exxon CEO Rex Tillerman and Putin, earning Tillerman the “Order of Friendship” award directly from Putin.
When Russia invaded the Ukraine, the United States and the EU were both alarmed and outraged.
Why did Russia choose that moment to invade Ukraine? As we discussed above, in 2014, Ukraine wanted to join NATO and be protected from Russia. And, there’s the fact that Crimea has an important port that is stigmatic for Russia control commerce and move oil.
Yes, Russia needs access to warm water ports for its Black Sea fleet and many analysts also believe that this is a major issue of concern for Moscow, which it is. But the plot, as they say, thickens.
There is also another reason for Putin’s intervention in Ukraine and that has to do with Russia elbowing for dominance of the very lucrative and strategically important “energy corridors.”
That is very likely to be the major reason why Putin is willing to risk going to war with the West over Crimea, the pipelines that traverses the Caucasus and the oil and natural gas these pipelines carry westwards to Europe.
Given the geography of the region there are only so many lanes where the pipelines can be laid; and most of them transit through Ukraine. Others travel across Azerbaijan and Turkey. Most of Western Europe’s gas and much of Eastern Europe’s gas travels through Ukraine.- OilPrice.com
President Obama sought sanctions against Russia for the invasion, and the sanctions put a stop to the Exxon-Rosneft deal.
Russia is a petro state: their #1 and #2 exports are oil and gas. In fact, you could almost think of the entire country as one gigantic oil company. And Russia – and the rest of the world’s oil corporations – see the clean energy writing on the wall. As electric cars, solar energy and wind energy become more effecient and cheaper, countries are moving beyond oil. Russia and these corporations control TRILLIONS of dollars worth of oil reserves, and they want to sell it before the bottom drops out of the oil market. Time is of the essence. The sanctions are costing them a fortune, and they want them gone. The Trump administration appears eager to lift the sanctions, having already lifted portions of it just a few days ago, as Russian backed soldiers began shelling in Ukraine.
(We were all distracted by Trump’s latest tweet, I suppose.)
Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson is now Trump’s US Secretary of State.
Rachel Maddow gave a very detailed investigation of just what is at stake with this gigantic Exxon-Russia deal. It’s well worth the few minutes to watch.
Control the new “President”
Back in 2000, US banks began to refuse to loan funds to Trump due to his many bankruptcies. Where did he get his loans? Russian oligarchs. And these oligarchs are extremely corrupt. How much does Trump owe the Russians? Sergei Millian, the president of the U.S. Russian Chamber of Commerce and friend of Trump, claims in 2016 the figure is in the hundreds of millions.
Should a president of the United States owe millions of dollars to a foreign government? Could any of this money have been obtained through means that open Trump to blackmail?
You may recall that back in the days of the Soviet Union, Putin was a high ranking officer of the KGB. It’s primary purpose was protecting the regime, and it was ruthless in doing so. Corruption and violence were rampant. After the fall of the USSR, new president Boris Yeltsen tried to reform the KGB by cutting its budget and agents. He renamed it the FSB – but was unable to reign in the lawless organization.
When the country fell apart, a variety of organized crime gaining control and wealth. But the mafia was quickly supplanted by former KGB agents.
Within a few years, former and serving security men had replaced the mafia in running the country’s thriving protection rackets. Some were caught up in even darker activities. – BBC
Putin and a cadre of his loyal KGB agents were determined to regain their former power.
In 1999, Vladimir Putin, then director of the FSB and a career KGB man, was appointed prime minister.
The second part of the mission – getting a KGB man into the presidency – was accomplished the following year.On 20 December 1999, at an FSB party to celebrate the founding of the Cheka, the Bolshevik secret police, he told his former colleagues: “Dear comrades, I can report that the group of agents you sent to infiltrate the government has accomplished the first part of its mission.”
Under Vladimir Putin, the security services have regained their former prestige, their budgets and their numbers are now higher than ever, and they have gained positions of power in all areas of the nation’s life.
What does this have to do with the US? In a word, “Kompromat”. This is the common practice of the KGB recording prominent people in compromising sexual situations for use as blackmail. “Kompromat” has been used against the West frequently noteably since the 1960s, as endless scandals came to light, like the Profumo Affair, in which a British government minister became embroiled in an espionage and sex scandal after recordings of him having sex with a young Russian prostitute emerged.
The use of sex recordings for political purposes has not stopped. As recently as April 2016, a rival of Putin had his career ruined when embarrassing sex tapes were released of he and his mistress.
So when an ex M-16 agent told the FBI that he had evidence that Russia had been “grooming” Trump for years, and that they had a sex recording of him and several Russian prostitutes, the information quickly leaked. Yet the FBI seemed to be sitting on the information before the “election”.
Investigative reporters at Mother Jones reported that this M-16 agent has “been a credible source with a proven record of providing reliable, sensitive, and important information to the US government.”
Mother Jones has reviewed that report and other memos this former spy wrote. The first memo, based on the former intelligence officer’s conversations with Russian sources, noted, “Russian regime has been cultivating, supporting and assisting TRUMP for at least 5 years. Aim, endorsed by PUTIN, has been to encourage splits and divisions in western alliance.” It maintained that Trump “and his inner circle have accepted a regular flow of intelligence from the Kremlin, including on his Democratic and other political rivals.” It claimed that Russian intelligence had “compromised” Trump during his visits to Moscow and could “blackmail him.” It also reported that Russian intelligence had compiled a dossier on Hillary Clinton based on “bugged conversations she had on various visits to Russia and intercepted phone calls.” – Mother Jones
Damaging or Destroying US Democracy
According to several national security experts, there is widespread concern in the US intelligence community that Russian intelligence, via hacks, is aiming to undermine the presidential election—to embarrass the United States and delegitimize its democratic elections. – Mother Jones
A high percentage of citizens within the United States have already called the election into question, between GOP voter suppression, apparent FBI collusion to elect Trump, and the fact that HRC won nearly 3 Million more votes. Many US citizens embrace the terms #IllegitimatePresident and #SoCalledPresident. If Russia does decide to reveal some of its information, or the part they played in the election, it will further delegitimize the United States claim of being a beacon of Democracy. Already:
the United States has been downgraded from a “full democracy” to a “flawed democracy” by the Economic Intelligence Unit. – Business Insider
If delegitimizing the democracy of the United States was Putin’s goal, then he has brilliantly succeeded. But how about also neutering US influence — or even breaking up the United States?
What better way to destroy the United States them by placing a loutish, egomaniacal, inexperienced, racist puppet in charge? Especially a puppet who due to his own personal pathology, is vengeful and considers those who didn’t vote for him “enemies”. And a person who, due to his own narcissism, may not even realize he is a puppet.
Several of Trump’s close inner circle of advisers have close ties with Russia. (Strike-throughs have resigned) This list is expected to get longer as information is revealed about the Trump camp. The list has grown so long that I’ve created a separate post for it.
UPDATE Feb 13, 2017: More has come out about Russia’s ties to the tRump administration, and Putin’s goals in placing operatives within that administration.
Putin’s motives are pragmatic as well as ideological; distracting his people as he cracks down dissent at home while seeking destabilization in the West and hoping to prevent further expansion of the European Union and NATO. Bannon’s motives seem more messianic and, the greater the influence he exerts on Trump’s thinking (such as it is), dangerous.- BillMoyers.com
This article ends with a warning…
The bottom line is that Putin is far shrewder than Trump and capable of playing him like a balalaika. And with the likes of foolhardy Bannon, dangerous professional twerp and presidential advisor Stephen Miller, security risk Michael Flynn and others egging Trump on — obsessed with a nightmarish hallucination about America and the world’s future — we live at one of the most dangerous moments in our republic’s history.
Unlike those days 50 years ago when Russia posed a different kind of ideological threat, one that had us building fallout shelters and teaching kids to duck and cover, this is not a drill. – BillMoyers.com